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What Causes Kidney Stones in Women

What Causes Kidney Stones in Women

What causes kidney stones in women? How can its presence in the body be detected? What are the ways to prevent the occurrence of these stones and to get rid of them from the body? Read through this article to answer your queries and for more information on the causative factors for renal stones, along with its symptoms and treatment methods...
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
One fine day, as you get out of bed you suddenly experience severe pain in the abdominal region. You also find it difficult to relieve yourself without triggering pain. Panicked you go to the doctor who diagnoses that you have developed kidney stones. though there is a higher incidence in men as compared to women, women are also liable to get renal stones.

We are all aware of the fact that the kidneys are among the most vital organs of the human body system, with the function of filtering waste and toxins from the body. The entire urinary system is involved in the filtration process by removing toxic waste from the blood. Sometimes excess calcium and protein in the body is also discarded from the body through urine. Filtration in the kidneys is done in the glomeruli (singular glomerulus). At times when there is an excess accumulation of calcium salts in the kidneys, due to the malfunctioning of the glomerulus, than it can lead to the formation of stones. This condition affects men as well as women, who are 30 to 60 years old. However, for reasons unknown, the incidence is more in men as compared to women. Women, having stones also exhibit symptoms, similar to that of men.

Causes of Kidney Stones

There are different types of kidney stones, based on the composition. The most common case is that they are made of calcium oxalate crystals. The causative factors for this kidney problem in women is almost similar to men.
  • One of the most common causes is less intake of water and fluids. Due to this reason, the body gets dehydrated and the kidneys are unable to completely dissolve and discard calcium salts from the body. Calcium oxalate is also released by the liver, during detoxification. High doses of vitamin D, metabolic disorders, dietary factors and intestinal bypass surgery can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Another kind of stones that can occur in kidneys are calcium phosphate crystals.
  • Uric acid stones are indicative of the high concentration of uric acid in the kidneys, which can be seen in the urine. They may occur in individuals who suffer from chronic dehydration, gout and those who are on a high-protein diet. Other factors responsible for this stone type are genetics and disorders of the blood-producing tissues.
  • Struvite stones, or ammonium magnesium phosphate stones are larger than the calcium stones. These stones may be caused due to urinary tract infection (UTI). The bacteria causing this infection secrete a high amount of ammonia, increasing the pH of the urine and also excreting excess magnesium.
  • Some doctors believe that genetic factor also plays a role in the occurrence of stones. One such rare kidney stone is the cystine stone. These stones are caused due to a hereditary disorder called cystinuria, where there is a high concentration of amino acids in the urine.
Symptoms as Observed in Women

Unfortunately the signs and symptoms of renal stones are not always easily detected. This is because the lower abdominal pain in women experienced due to the kidney stones is often overlooked as menstrual cramps. However, here are some of the signs that may indicate the presence of calcium crystals in the kidneys.
  • As mentioned earlier, one of the first signs is experiencing abdominal pain of varying degrees. This pain may be radiated towards the back and also be felt like kidney pain.
  • Another symptom is noticing pinkish or red urine due to the presence of blood. Some women may also experience a frequent urge to urinate and a burning sensation while urinating.
  • In case of the presence of kidney infection some women may also experience moderate to high-grade fever, nausea induced vomiting, and chills.
Kidney Stones in Women Treatment

It is essential to diagnose and treat renal stones before they become an irreversible condition, leading to kidney failure. The diagnostic tests may include a physical exam, urine tests and sonography. The doctor may also advice the patient to undergo an MRI or CT scan to determine the exact location and size of the stone. The previous medical history of the patient may also be evaluated before administering treatment. Painkillers may be prescribed to relieve the inflammation and pain caused due to this kidney disease. The patient may also be required to undergo lithotripsy, where sound waves are employed to break the crystals and removed. In some cases, the doctor may opt for kidney stone surgery if the kidney stone is too big and cannot be passed out of the body. The doctor may also chalk out a diet plan for the patient to treat this kidney disorder.

Diet for kidney stones must consist of lots of fruits and vegetables. Calcium rich foods must be completely avoided. Drinking plenty of water and fluids will prevent the accumulation of calcium salts in the kidneys. Foods like poultry, meat and fish should be restricted. A routine visit to a health care provider will also help diagnose this condition in the initial stages and prevent it from becoming severe. Take care!